Monday, January 29, 2018

The Math Is Clear: Democrats Need to Win More Working-Class White Votes

My new article on Vox is out, debunking the ridiculous idea that the Democrats can achieve the electoral success they're looking for without more white working class votes. Here's the beginning of the article, but I hope you'll read the whole thing!
Following the noteworthy Democratic successes in the 2017 elections, we’re once again hearing that Democrats can achieve their electoral goals without any greater success among the white working class. Indeed, some on the left seem to feel that Democratic gestures toward the white working class would not only be ineffective but are politically suspect.
“There’s always been something problematic about the Democratic Party’s fixation on white working-class voters,” writes Sally Kohn at the Daily Beast. “After Alabama, it’s clear that obsession isn’t just fraught with bias. It’s also dumb.”
Steve Phillips of Democracy in Color remarked in a New York Times op-ed: “The country is under conservative assault because Democrats mistakenly sought support from conservative white working-class voters susceptible to racially charged appeals. Replicating that strategy would be another catastrophic blunder.”
“The ceiling with the white working class is what it is,” Phillips adds with a shrug in The Nation.
However popular, the view that Democrats can get along without working-class white voters is simply wrong. It reflects wishful thinking and a rigid set of political priors — namely, that Democrats’ political problems always stem from insufficient motivation of base voters — more than a cold, hard look at what the electoral and demographic data say.

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